Building An Award-Winning Email Newsletter

with Lisa Williams
lisatmh AT gmail dot com
More on me and my work

This Workshop Exists Thanks To

The ONA Speakers' Bureau brings trainers and workshops to ONA Local chapters. To find out more about the ONA Speakers' Bureau, visit here.
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Today's workshop
  • Why email?
  • Email Analytics
  • Applying data science to make better email products
  • Making great email newsletters
  • Case study
  • Build Your Own Email Newsletter
  • Building a successful email newsletter
Why email?

Because Platforms Steal From You

iTunes, Facebook, Twitter all take your content but tell you very little about who consumes it.
But what platforms take away, email gives back.

How Do You Know If It's Working?

Email analytics 101
Open rate
Clickthrough rate
Conversion rate
We can learn things all along the funnel

Problem: Most email analytics suck

(most web analytics suck too)
Applying data science to email
Cutting edge email experiments
The experiment you are about to see is performed using an open source Jupyter Notebook created by The Shorenstein Center. You can read more about it here.

If you'd like to try it yourself, you need to install the software.
You can find out how with this tutorial.

How to make a great email product

How about asking people?

User Research

Diversity & demographics
Friend groups
User Research starter pack:
  1. Take them through their day
  2. If you could add just one thing?
  3. Listen for pain points
  4. Listen for routine
What if what I'm doing doesn't really make market sense?
The Four Rules
  1. Everything About Something
  2. I Can Start Without Assistance Or Permission
  3. Relationships First
  4. Don't Do Anything For Free That You Wouldn't Do For Free Indefinitely
Case study: The Magic Pill
What was different about The Magic Pill?
It was based on user research.
It was an 'Audio newsletter,'
not a podcast
It was short.
It was limited.
It was unique to each subscriber -- every subscriber got their own 'Day One.'
Magic Pill could respond to user behavior.
We used selective marketing.



Biggest Mistake

If someone asks you to send them email

Send them the email!

Exercise 1: Obsessions, Meet Markets

Question your biases

Does it need to be daily?
Does it need to be weekly?
Does it need to be perpetual?
Do you need to have it because a competitor has it?
Is a daily headlines email really the right thing?

Handout: Newsletter Worksheet

Download here
This handout gives you a quick walkthrough of the questions you should answer before starting a new email product or revamping an existing one.
With thanks to Nicco Mele of the Shorenstein Center

Exercise: Pitch A Newsletter

  1. Audience: Who are they? How many are there? How will you reach them?
  2. Snappy Newsletter Title
  3. Frequency
  4. Finite or open-ended? Why?
  5. Word count, item count
  6. Two big "gets"
  7. Subscriber target (How many by what date?)
  8. What is your onboarding sequence?
  9. 5 potential sponsors
Exercise 2: Lean Canvas

Handout: Lean Canvas template

( download)

(Never seen one of these and didn't attend this session live? Read this to understand how to fill out your Lean Canvas one-page business plan)




Reach Lisa Williams
lisatmh AT gmail dot com
More on me and my work

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